Carbon Monoxide: Winter’s Silent Killer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 400 Americans die of accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, and 20,000 are forced to visit the emergency room due to CO poisoning each year. CO poisoning can happen any time of the year, but it most common in the winter when we shut ourselves snugly indoors and run heaters and other CO producing equipment. Carbon monoxide is odorless and the symptoms can be elusive. CO poisoning death typically occurs at night when people are sleeping and do not experience symptoms.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Some basic tips for avoiding CO poisoning include:

  • Install CO alarms outside every sleeping area and at least 15 feet away from every fuel-burning appliance
  • Never leave your car running inside a garage, even with the doors open
  • Never use outdoor grills indoors
  • Do not run generators or any kind of gas powered device in enclosed areas
  • Do not use a gas oven to heat your home

Defective CO Alarms, Appliances, and Heaters

You probably know that you should change the batteries in your CO detectors twice a year, and check them monthly. What you may not know is that CO detector defects are common, and can result in a deadly malfunction. Defective CO detectors are often recalled, but remember that recalls are often initiated only after a defect has caused injures and death.

Appliances and heaters can have defects in their ventilation systems which cause them to release the deadly gas into your home.

If you have been harmed or hospitalized due to CO poisoning as the result of a defective CO detector, heater, or appliance, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and permanent impairment under product liability laws. Likewise, if you have lost a loved one to a tragic CO accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate.

While a recall can serve as evidence in your favor, it is not necessary to your case. In fact, if there has been no recall, your case could be the only thing that brings the defect to light and could save lives. Consumers who hold companies accountable for their defective products are often the only real incentive they have to keep dangerous products off the market. To do that successfully, you need the help of an experienced and highly skilled accident attorney.